Ontario’s AstraZeneca waiting period may be lowered: experts

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Published June 11, 2021 at 8:28 pm

Speculation began Friday night that Ontario will lower the 12-week wait time for people whose first COVID-19 vaccine was an AstraZeneca jab.

Such a policy change would be welcome for residents of Mississauga and Brampton, as well as other cities with relatively young workforces in the construction and service sectors. Both Mississauga and Brampton have been prioritized for second dose vaccines due to being delta variant hotspots, although Hamilton has not despite having a high positivity rate.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and their counterparts in other cities have said that the 12-week waiting period leaves essential workers at risk. Both they and doctors have pointed out that a person who has only one dose is more likely to contract COVID-19, and possibly spread it to others while being asympomatic, than someone who has received their second dose.

Both Brown and Crombie wrote to the government on Friday asking for the interval to be cut to eight weeks.

On Friday night, two infectious diseases experts with large Twitter followings, Dr. Isaac Bogoch and Dr. Ryan Imgrund, said they expect the 12-week interval will be shortened. Cheri DiNovo, a prominent former Ontario NDP MPP, also suggested that a “drastic shortening” is in the works.

Bogoch serves on Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force. Imgrund is a biostatistician with 67,600 Twitter followers. Both shared email correspondences with Dr. Kieran Moore, the incoming Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario.

All other jurisdictions in Canada have an eight-week waiting period for AstraZeneca recipients. Ontario’s present policy is 12 weeks regardless of which vaccine a person wants for their second dose.

Any official announcement would come from the Ontario Ministry of Health.

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